When we think of distracted driving, we often think of the most obvious distractions, like texting or talking on the phone. However, distractions come in various forms, some so subtle and ingrained in our daily routines that we don’t even recognize them as potential hazards.
Every time our focus shifts away from the task of driving – whether it’s to change the radio station, to sip coffee, or to glance at a notification on our phone – we’re not just putting ourselves at risk; we’re also jeopardizing the safety of passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. As brief as they may seem, these moments can have lasting consequences.
In America, multitasking has become a norm, even behind the wheel. But have you ever stopped to consider how often your own attention drifts away from the road while driving?
“Do I drive distracted?” It’s an important question that many of us might answer too quickly without truly considering our driving habits.
Distracted Driving in America
With millions of vehicles traversing these roads daily, the United States is one of the busiest countries in terms of road traffic. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of serious car accidents, particularly those caused by distracted driving.
Driving requires our full attention. Even a few seconds of distraction can lead to tragedy. Distracted driving reduces our reaction time, impairs judgment, and can lead to loss of vehicle control. The consequences can be life-altering for the distracted driver, as well as all others on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,522 people in 2021, and thousands more suffered serious injuries. Sadly, this is just a fraction of the lives lost to distracted driving because not every distracted driving accident is reported.
Types of Driving Distractions
A visual distraction while driving refers to any activity or occurrence that diverts a driver’s eyes and attention away from the road. This type of distraction involves looking at something other than the road ahead, which can significantly impair a driver’s ability to notice and react to changes in their driving environment.
Examples of visual distractions include:
- Looking at a GPS or Navigation System
- Reading Text Messages or Emails
- Adjusting Car Controls
- Observing Passengers or Pets
- Outside Distractions
- Personal Grooming
A manual distraction while driving is any activity that causes a driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Engaging in manual distractions reduces a driver’s control over the vehicle as it takes their hands away from the primary task of steering. This can be especially hazardous in situations requiring quick or precise maneuvers, such as during heavy traffic, poor road conditions, or emergencies.
Examples of manual distractions include:
- Using a Smartphone or Electronic Device
- Eating and Drinking
- Adjusting Vehicle Controls
- Reaching for Objects
- Attending to Children or Pets
A cognitive distraction while driving is a type of distraction that occurs when a driver’s mind is not focused on driving. These distractions involve mental activities that divert the driver’s attention from the road and driving, even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.
Examples of cognitive distractions include:
- Daydreaming or Being Lost in Thought
- Emotional Distractions
- Engaging in Complex or Deep Conversations
- Listening to Audio Books or Podcasts
- Planning or Problem-Solving
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Do You Drive Distracted?
There are so many ways to become distracted while driving. Each of us, knowingly or unknowingly, probably does drive distracted from time to time. Whether it’s a quick glance at our phone, changing the radio station, or simply being lost in our thoughts, these actions can have serious consequences.
Before you head out on the Atlanta roads, try to assess your driving habits and how you might improve them. Reflection is the first step towards change. How often do you find yourself distracted while driving? Are there specific triggers or habits that lead you to lose focus?
Identifying these can help you develop strategies to avoid them. For instance, if you frequently use your phone, consider putting it in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while driving. If you tend to get lost in thoughts, practice mindfulness techniques to keep your focus on the road.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a car accident in Atlanta, we can help. Our attorneys can investigate your accident and help you seek justice after a devastating automobile accident with a distracted driver.
Call us today at 1-404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form, and we’ll call you back. Our lawyers offer a free consultation so you can explore your legal options after a serious car accident in Atlanta without risk or worry. Call today!